The Exmoor Squirrel Project
The Exmoor Squirrel Project is a collaboration between ourselves, Red Squirrel South West and Exmoor National Park, funded by the Forestry Commission. We are focusing on a 35km stretch along the North Coast of Exmoor using its landscape as natural barriers. To one side the sea, to the other extensive and vast moorland.
The project aim is to drive down the invasive population of North American grey squirrel which is having a significant detrimental impact on the health, condition, ecology, regenerative capacity and productivity of valuable trees, ancient woodlands and native wildlife in the project area.
We are working with local landowners, communities, wildlife managers, volunteers, academic bodies and agencies, and are deploying a range of practical, educational, and awareness raising activities to achieve the aims.
Three Atop’s role in this project is the primary Wildlife and Woodland Management Officer.
We have identified and are working with woodland owners within the project area to develop and implement control plans, carry out woodland surveys, set and deliver realistic targets, report on those targets and continue to monitor sites.
Throughout this process we are identifying skill and knowledge gaps and organising training events for landowners and volunteers who can then take over management of sites in the future.
We have been using research from various experts inclusive of Charles Dutton. Scoping survey of all the woodland to the north of Exmoor – Charles Dutton & Co (Dorset) Ltd, to understand the grey’s behaviours being displayed. Throughout the most recent Autumn and Winter we have put this research to the test. This proved for ourselves the importance of understanding their behaviours in conjunction with the damage visible in our woodlands. The catch rates doubled after changing tact and getting to the areas where behaviours had shown visible test bark stripping. We will be using these methods and providing training and understanding of our woodlands to all operatives, landowners, volunteers and the public over the course of the project.
- Red Squirrel South West – Saving Red Squirrels
- UK Squirrel Accord
- Forestry Commission – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/forestry-commission
- The Grey Squirrel Management Handbook from Summerfield Bookshttps://www.summerfieldbooks.com/product/the-grey-squirrel-management-handbook/
- Handbook Order form copy (europeansquirrelinitiative.org)